By Joginder Tuteja
Mumbai, Feb 11 (IANS) The buzz is that Shah Rukh Khan's "Billu Barber", now renamed "Billu", is inspired by Malayalam hit "Katha Parayumbol" (2007), which was later made in Tamil as "Kuselan" (2008). But the film's writer denies any similarity between the movies.
" 'Billu' is a completely different film," said Mushtaq Sheikh, co-writer of "Billu" along with director Priyadarshan.
"When you will see 'Billu', you will know what I mean. The screenplay of 'Billu' does not follow the route followed by the predecessors," said Sheikh, who was also the co-writer of Shah Rukh's blockbuster "Om Shanti Om".
While Mammootty played a superstar in "Katha Parayumbol", its Tamil version starred Rajnikant in the same role.
So has the screenplay of "Billu" been tweaked to make it more suitable for an all-India audience?
"One did not have to tweak it, one had to change it completely. I repeat - this film is a re-birth of 'Billu' (the character in the film). It's a brand new film with no connection with any other film," Sheikh told IANS.
Unlike "Katha Parayumbol", "Kuselan" had bombed in spite of Rajnikant's presence.
"How does that affect our film?" asks Sheikh. "There wasn't any doubt or fear in us when we were working on 'Billu'. 'Kuselan' working or not working was never going to hamper the flow of 'Billu'."
Sheikh added that he and Priyadarshan had sat down to give the film a new "touch and feel".
"This movie was made before and here we wanted to make a brand new film keeping the ingrained soul intact. Also, making a Hindi film is a totally different ball game than the ones that are made in the south. The people, the emotions, the landscape, the conflict - everything changes when we make Hindi movies. We knew it was never going to be easy," he makes a candid confession.
He is particularly ecstatic about the fact that with 'Billu', he could work with his real-life friend Shah Rukh yet again.
"For me Shah Rukh is like a beacon of light that guides me and inspires me. He is like family. He brings in a certain strength to my presence," he said fondly.
Featuring Lara Dutta in the lead with special appearances by Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone, "Billu" also stars Priyadarshan regulars like Asrani, Om Puri, Rajpal Yadav, Manoj Joshi and Rasika Joshi. With music by Pritam, "Billu" is all set to arrive Feb 13.